It seems 2015 was one of the deadliest traffic years since 2007. Part of the reason was the lower gas prices and the improving economy, people were spending more time on the road than in previous years. With the advent of text messaging and drunk driving trending higher in 2015 compared to 2014, the streets are getting more and more dangerous. The daily news reports about car fatalities have become common and ubiquitous, to the point where most of us don't even give it a second thought. We would like to take this time to remind everyone to drive safer. There are people out there that need a little more time in the crosswalk and we have to be mindful of it.
Here are some recent tragedies that could have been avoided:
Harold Smith, 75 of Raleigh (North Carolina), was struck by a car on Easter morning while driving his motorized scooter to the Save-A-Lot grocery store nine blocks from his house. He had just bought food for the holiday cookout. He was an elderly fixture in the neighborhood, and his death to one reporter was... "the saddest deaths so far this year: a man who had had a stroke, who used a wheelchair to get around, who was run down on the holiest day of the Christian Calendar." Harold Smith was traveling east to west, outside of the crosswalk. The car that struck him did not brake before impact, and police said the driver had a clear view. No charges have been filed as the investigation continues.
Richard Barley, 85 of Kingstree (South Carolina), was in his power wheelchair and crossing the Highway 52 and Longstreet, which is just north of Kingstree, SC. That's when a 1992 Honda Accord hit him while on his electric wheelchair. Troopers say no charges will be filed against the driver of the car, since the person in the wheelchair was illegally crossing the road. Although it may be seemingly the fault of the power wheelchair driver, the driver of the Honda Accord is equally to blame for this horrific accident.
John Carter, 45 of North Dallas (Texas), in his electric wheelchair, was on his way home from dinner and drinks at around 2:16 a.m. when he headed towards the Belt Line Village. A suspected drunk driver hit him as he was crossing the street in his custom $25,000.00 motorized wheelchair, sending him to the hospital with serious injuries. Carter is wheelchair bound and has no arms and legs. Carter is recovering at the Presbyterian hospital from broken ribs & lacerations. What's worse---His prosthetic legs valued at 10-thousand dollars were crushed. His wheelchair, which doctors believed absorbed the brunt of the crash & may have saved Carter's life, was also destroyed. Check out the new story in the video below.
It should be common sense that disabled people, especially ones in wheelchairs are less capable of dodging a speeding automobile than an able bodied person. A Georgetown University Medical Center investigation into how often wheelchair users are killed in car-pedestrian crashes finds they are a third more likely to die than non-wheelchair users; more than half of those deaths occur at intersections. No matter who is at fault in an accident, we all need to drive safer. It's our civil duty to be safer for our neighbors and for ourselves.